Wow… It has been a long time since I wrote on here.
Yes, I have been busy but my blogging absence has mainly been due to a realization that my words might travel farther and mean more than I had originally thought. When I first started this blog, I was doing it for myself. I never really expected for anyone to read it or for anyone to take anything from my words. Back in September one of my posts was shared on a weekly inspiration roundup targeted to women. Believe me, I was shocked but honoured. It meant people were obviously getting something out of my words. At 20 years old, when I am still trying to figure so much out, this seemed crazy to me. As time went on, anytime I tried to start writing I stopped because I wanted to make sure whatever I was writing had an impact. However, I originally “inspired” just writing from the heart and just letting my thoughts flow. After all… the name of this blog is Honestly Alexis.
Today, most people my age are looking for some form of media attention. We dress ourselves up just for a photo and go places just to tag the location on Instagram to gain followers and likes. That’s not ever what I wanted this blog to be. I wanted it to be real and honest and reflect my feelings and values. I don’t want to write what will get approval from others, I want to write what reflects my truth.
Therefore, I learned how important it is to stay true to yourself when the world is constantly morphing to fit the mold of perfection. Now, if that’s not a little inspiring, I don’t know what is.
I see a lot more posts in my future; maybe inspiring ones, maybe lame ones, but ones that I am proud of.
When I started connecting with my boyfriend he lived away in Burnaby. Only a two-hour ferry ride and a bit of driving separated us. For the longest time, we were only accustomed to the long-distance ways. However, he then came back home for the Summer. We took advantage of that time and spent every second possible together. Although you make tons of memories, the downfall is when they have to leave again. This time, he was not only leaving off the island to the mainland, he was moving a whole province away. Now, this might not seem like a big deal because only a quick flight and an uber separates us now. This is true… but many other factors make seeing each other much more difficult. Our schedules are a complete mess. We are both full-time students and I work on top of it. Not to mention the financial constraints of being students. When flights are $400 round trip, a quick weekend visit makes you rethink things.
The adjustment to him leaving has been anything but easy. I’ve felt lonely, spent sleepless night and no matter how much long distance love I was getting, it just wasn’t filling the void of having him here.
I overall wasn’t feeling like myself. For a while, I wished that he had never come home at all because I wouldn’t be feeling this way if he hadn’t. It wasn’t until I started going through all my photos, remembering all the memories we made and how much closer we became in those three months of being together full time, that I accepted the new distance between us.
Here is a couple of the little tricks we use to make the time apart easier:
Communication: We live in a lucky world where we have so many resources to bridge the geographical gaps between our loved ones. All I can say is use these resources to KEEP THE COMMUNICATION GOING! Even something as simple as a good morning text message can make all the difference. We like to use FaceTime, even if we study while on it together, or having nightly talks.
Know your phone plan. Don’t get stuck with hefty phone bills. Know what your plan includes and work with it. Many plans, like mine, have unlimited calling after 6pm and weekends, which can be a huge saviour for those long chats.
The Future: As scary as it may seem at first, talking about the future makes long distance easier. It lets you know that the distance is temporary and gives you both goals to work towards. Stay within your comfort zone of what kind of topics to touch on that relate to the future but don’t feel like you shouldn’t talk about it at all.
Time Gap: We are lucky because we only have a one-hour time gap. That being said, scheduling things can sometimes be a pain. “Did he want to FaceTime at 9 my time or his?”. Remember to clarify this and set aside reasonable amounts of time that work for both of you to chat.
Be Sensitive: Just because you are feeling secure and happy with how the long distance relationship is working, doesn’t mean your partner is. Check in with them and be there if they aren’t feeling great. Highs and lows happen and they are going to need your help along the way.
When it’s you feeling a little off, don’t be afraid to say something. Voice how you feel and if the relationship is strong and mature enough, you will be able to talk through it and solve any issues.
Trust: People constantly ask about how trust plays into long distance. My answer has always been if you don’t trust them you shouldn’t be with them. If you find yourself social media stalking them or keeping yourself up at night thinking about what they may be doing and who they are doing it with, that relationship needs some work. Be with someone who you are confident in and who you trust will do the right thing.
Remember The Little Things: Those “how was your day?”, “I love you” and “I appreciate you” statements go so far. They are small but meaningful.
Throwing a baby shower was probably one of the most exhausting, memorable and rewarding experiences of my life. I could have just put out food and a cleaned the house but I don’t do anything half ass. Of course, I had to pick a theme and follow that theme through, with everything.
To all those who entertain on a regular basis, you deserve a round of applause. It’s A LOT of planning and work.
So, when my friend found out she was having a baby boy, I immediately started filling up the Pinterest boards with ideas. I settled on a rustic teddy bear theme, as I assumed I could follow through with that theme on a budget, which I did. I frequented dollars stores on a regular basis and DIY’d pretty much everything.
One of my first duties was grabbing anything rustic from the dollar store. I found cheap twine, chalkboard everything, burlap everything and lots of blue ribbon.
One of the hits was my popcorn bags! I hole punched about a cm apart on the top of the bag and ran twine back and forth through the holes, finally tying a knot when the two ends met in the front. Then I made twine figure 8’s and glued them on to look like a bow. I topped it off with two salt and pepper shakers full of popcorn seasoning and labeled them.
I topped the popcorn off with one of the burlap chalkboard signs I found at the dollar store that I added buttons too. These were perfect for labeling food and went well with the theme.
What’s a baby shower without a Pinterest fail? These teddy graham cupcakes were my nightmare. Never ask me to decorate a cake, the result is scary. However, to incorporate the cupcake platter, I added a bow on the base with a button in the centre.
On a separate table, I had what I called “Honey Bear ‘Mom’osas”. This was a mom-friendly drink, just made of lemonade and club soda that I put in a fancy dispenser, and again decorated it with a bow. The sign was one of my spruced up dollar store specials and the coffee cups were a white cup that I hot glued with a burlap strip and a straw bow.
The teddy bear cake was such a cute addition to the party. I know what you are thinking… No, I did NOT make this cake. Shout out to Country Grocer’s bakery team. They were amazing to deal with, the cake looked amazing and was delicious and you can’t beat a $24.00 price tag!
I also had the napkins fit the theme by folding them into a bow tie shape. The bows were secured by wrapping the blue ribbon around it and attaching the ends in the back with a drop of hot glue. The teddy bears in the back where ordered off Amazon and I just added a bow to them.
Now for food, I created a little teddy bear cheese platter using Boursin cheese that I molded into a semi Circle. I stuck two olives into the cheese to represent eyes and one for the nose. Ritz crackers were used for the ears and then I sliced up meats and cheeses to go around it. Assorted crackers were stacked in the back bowl to go along with it.
I also had chopped up fruit to go with a chocolate fountain, which I must say, was a bit of a fail. The machine did not work like it should, but chocolate is chocolate and it went over fine anyways.
Remember dunkaroos? I made my own version. I had birthday cake icing and teddy grahams for dipping. Had I done this again, I would have made my own icing.
Lastly, I had a standard veggie platter from Costco that I just moved into a different dish for looks.
If there is one thing I can stress, It’s games, games and more GAMES! Keep the people entertained. “Guess the size of mom’s belly” was a common one on Pinterest. I just got a little tin from Walmart to put the yarn in and attached a chalkboard stick-on to the front, where I wrote on the self-explanatory name. The yarn was, of course, blue and I had little tags to write the guessers name on. Once everyone had guessed I just measured them around mom’s waste and the winner got a prize.
I also found these great chalkboard calendars at the dollar store and turned them into a guessing game of when the baby would come. This was a super cute idea, although no one wins right away.
Ah, the bottle drinking game. All you need is a few cheap bottles and some form of a drink. Everyone then races to finish the bottle first. NOTE: I would avoid anything acidic. Lemonade truly hurt the tongue after a while of drinking.
The prize table had a few notebooks and candle/ diffuser sets to give out. I also put out a little can to collect any cards in. The white, paper looking contraption was a frame for people to take photos in. It was a cute idea but needed more structure to work well.
Some of the little touches are the best touches. I Somehow managed to whip this ribbon up. Don’t ask me how… It was a late night after a long attempt at crafts. It contains a circular chalkboard stick-on, some cardboard, twine, burlap, ribbon and about 7839 hot glue sticks.
I am a sucker for flowers but I am also a starving student. These two things don’t go together very well. I opted for baby’s breath and daisies cause they are delicate and cheap. I made homemade vases using mason jars and a variety of ribbon, twine, burlap and such to make each vase unique but theme fitted.
So there you have it.
Throwing a themed baby shower is WORK and MONEY. However, if I could do it all over again, I would. It is a very satisfying feeling when all is said and done. Just remember, start early, plan within your means, and think reasonable about what themed items will be easy to find. Rustic themes are super easy and affordable and provide lots of opportunity for DIY projects.
Some might call me crazy or perhaps, even a hoarder but I am I constantly adding to my “box of memories”. I started this box after sitting down with one of my friend’s grandmas and going through her endless scrapbooks and keepsakes. She told me to hold onto everything, even the things that hurt me to look at now because, one day, I would want to remember it all; the good the bad and the ugly. These moments would all shape the person I become and determine the path I take.
As we flipped through the books together, she laughed at her old pictures and smiled at old love letters. I was taken back, as a girl who had recently gone through a breakup, I thought there was no reason to keep anything like that. She looked at me and said “why get rid of it? That was a part of your life where you learned, loved and created memories”. She couldn’t have been more right. After that conversation, I began to collect everything from old cards, event tickets, photos, knick-knacks to preserved flowers that had been given to me.
Now, when I’ve had a rough week, I will pull out the box and look over everything. I will see the kind words that had been written to me in cards and old love letters and I look at the pictures from all the amazing experiences I’ve had. Yes, some things still hurt to read or look at but as time goes on feelings change and the negative feeling behind those memories with an ex-boyfriend or ex-friend fade.
I hope that one day when I am retired and my grandkids come to visit I can pull out this box, which at this rate will be closer to tubs full of memories, and show them how my life unfolded. Where I too, will convince them to create and keep their memories.